So last month I wrote a post about Why I Just Wanna Break Some Rules, taking a look at some of the choices I make as a Christian and how they fit in with the society and culture I live in. I was even lucky enough to receive a comment (this does not happen very often). Ashley talked about how if Jesus was a rebel, she wanted to be a rebel too. It was then I had my true eureka moment!
I had not mentioned Jesus once during a post about breaking cultural rules in order to be a Christian!
Surely there is something wrong when a post about living as a Christian doesn’t mention Christ. I mean, He is included in the name we have adopted so He must be pretty important! So my brain started to run through all the different people in the Bible who went against the culture they found themselves in. I ended up thinking of seven people who went up against society’s rules and thought I’d share them with you.
Being a native of Jericho made Rahab an enemy of Israel. Her chosen profession, prostitution, made her a sinner before God. We know that she had a house in the city, where her family lived with her. From what can be gleamed from the Bible, it looks like she had a pretty comfortable life. So why on earth would she risk all of this for a couple of Israelite spies who didn’t even have a homeland?
Rahab, along with all of Jericho, had heard of how the Israelites had defeated every enemy they had come up against. But unlike the rest of Jericho, Rahab chose to place her faith in a foreign people and their God. A move that was counter to the culture and society she had grown up in.
2-5) Daniel, Meshach, Sharach and Abednego
You’ve all heard of Daniel and the Lions’ Den? Did you know he ended up there because he chose his faith in God over the culture he found himself in? Or his friends Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego who were thrown into a fiery furnace because they chose not to obey the law because it would have meant turning against God. Yeah, these guys took their faith so seriously that they weren’t just countercultural but actually challenged the law.
It all started with a very small choice. They chose not to eat food from the king’s kitchen because it could have been sacrificed and blessed for another god, or idol. Instead, the four of them kept to a diet of vegetables and water so that they could honour God through their whole lifestyle, including what they ate. Living in the most powerful court of their time, they could have eaten the best meat and wine but chose not to. They chose to go against the cultural rules in order to live out their faith as fully as they could.
So this guy spent three years of His life teaching people how to love their neighbour. Even more amazing, He taught them that everybody and anybody was their neighbour. When you add in the fact that Jesus lived in a country under enemy occupation, the second commandment “to love your neighbour as yourself” seems to be a step too far. Add to this Jesus’ treatment of women (The woman with perfume? The woman who was healed?) or his use of a Samaritan, the Jews’ long-term enemy, as the good guy in a parable. When it came to talking the talk and walking the walk, Jesus really is the ultimate when it comes to practice the countercultural life.
The entire story of Jesus’ life, captured in the four gospels, is a story of living counterculturally. Everything that He did challenged the culture He was living in and encouraged those who followed Him to think counterculturally. With teaching based around those who sinned instead of those who lived the “holier than thou” life, He went up against the culture and it’s shapers throughout the entirety of His ministry.
Our final countercultural person (yes, this is number 7. Dan, Rack, Shack and Benny makes four) is the apostle Paul. The man who would be responsible for taking the Gospel of Christ to the Gentile world (that means me and probably you) was on the way to the big time. He was a pharisee and held the authority of the high priest to hunt out Christians in Jewish communities. He had power, respect and authority. He probably had the financial backing of the temple too.
He lost all that through his choice to listen to God’s plan for his life. Paul made the seemingly stupid decision to throw away the “good life” in exchange for a life spent on the road, relying on his skills as a tentmaker and the kindness of others, while teaching any and all who would listen to the Good News. He chose to move against society’s plan for him in so that they might hear the truth even if they didn’t listen.
Countering culture today, we can still look to the Bible for examples on how to do just that. When we encounter someone in need, we can choose to ignore the risk and help them like Rahab did. When asked to compromise part of our lifestyle, we can choose to say no like Daniel and his friends. When offered the choice between the “good life” and God’s plan, we can choose the path less travelled like Paul.
But most of all, we can choose to love like Jesus loved. Not an easy love when we love those whom we like or agree with or have things in common with. CounterCultural love means loving the kid who bullied you throughout school. CounterCultural love means loving those who disagree with your strongest beliefs. CounterCultural love means loving those society says we should scorn and hate.
Then we might begin to understand how Jesus loved.
The post 7 Biblical People Who Lived CounterCulturally first appeared on CounterCultural. CounterCouture.